A blog by runners. For runners.

Running tips for new moms: finding balance

Finding running balance as a new mom can be tough — especially if its your first child. Resisting the temptation to get back into shape and chase down PR goals right off the bat can be a challenge.


The writer with her family.

However, it’s important in the first year of your child’s life to ease back into physical activities and racing.

A little background on me: I ran throughout my entire pregnancy — 5 days per week. Of course, the runs changed in distance and intensity as I approached my due date but I still did them. I also did Pilates and Yoga 3 times per week. And I started running 4 days after having my son. So I’m not  advocating sitting on the couch. But I am saying recover. And, do it well. Here are some additional running tips for new moms:

  1. Take a look at your pregnancy fitness and start there. If you were active, you can probably continue with that for the first 6 weeks, always checking with your doctor. If you were sitting on the couch, take it slow. Add a few walks per month rather than focusing on the week at hand. Each week will have its new crazy when you are anew mom.
  2. Don’t set race goals. I’m sure there are plenty of moms out there who disagree but setting a strict time goal in the first year of your child’s life may put too much stress and pressure on you. That’s not to say you shouldn’t train or run races. I ran two half marathons 5 months postpartum. But this might not be the right time to set PR goals. Just relax and enjoy. You still have plenty of time to PR!
  3. Expect setbacks. It takes a good 6 to 9 months for your baby to figure out the ins and outs of this world. You can expect interrupted sleep, frequent schedule changes, and the unexpected. Planning a training cycle before your baby turns one can be more frustrating than enjoyable. Going with the flow in the first year is more likely to keep you rested, healthy, and  happy when running.
  4. Focus on healthy eating rather than running. Often women want to rush back into running to burn calories and fit back into their skinny jeans — I’m completely guilty of that one! But focusing on eating healthy nutritious foods rather than increasing mileage will yield better results. And if you are breastfeeding, food for you fuels the production of food for your baby.
  5. Slow and steady wins the race. Stress fractures, muscular strains, and frequent sickness are all common results of doing too much too fast after pregnancy. In order to stay in the game, take your time. Increasing intensity, or duration, or frequency of your runs more than once per week could lead to the above.

Always consult your physician after giving birth to discuss appropriate physical activity guidelines. Stay positive about your experience as a new mom and be willing to put your running goals on the back burner. And do not stress — you will be back up and running soon enough, possibly even faster and further than before!

Written by Danielle Bressoud.